His stats don’t leap off the page like some college prospects, but Evan Tattersall makes his value clear to those who watch.
When the Granite Bay High School senior running back and linebacker hits the hole or an opposing player, it’s usually for maximum effect.
With each carry, Tattersall usually requires a gang tackle. On defense, his 225 pounds of muscled momentum rarely misses. The Del Oro Golden Eagles know Tattersall will bring it Saturday night at Sacramento State with the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II title on the line.
But for all his impact, Tattersall has yet to rush for 100 yards or make double-digit tackles in a game this season.
“A big part of our game plan is to spread the ball around so guys can be fresh, and it cuts down on our tendencies,” said Grizzlies coach Jeff Evans about Tattersall’s production. “We’ve structured this year to get the ball all around, but when it comes down to it, everyone knows who will be getting the ball … and that’s Evan.”
Facing a third and 10 late in the section semifinal game against Del Campo last Friday, Tattersall got the ball. A first down would likely seal the victory since Del Campo was out of timeouts. Tattersall got 16 yards, with about 10 of those coming with defenders hanging off of and jumping onto him.
Tattersall, who is 6-foot-2, squats 650 pounds and bench presses 400, also had eight tackles and a sack for an 11-yard loss against the Cougars in the 9-7 victory.
When Granite Bay beat Del Oro 28-21 earlier in the season, Tattersall had three rushing touchdowns. Granite Bay is playing in its sixth section final, having won the D-I title in 2011 and 2012 and D-II titles in 1999, 2000 and 2007. The Grizzles won the D-I state championship in 2012, beating Long Beach Poly 21-20.
Tattersall said he likes to run the ball and lower the pads, but then again, hitting a ballcarrier flush is quite a thrill, too.
“I basically play just one position,” Tattersall said. “Only half the time I have the ball and the other half I don’t.”
While his numbers might not say “top recruit,” his mailman would say different. Tattersall, a 4.0 student, attracted scholarship offers from across the Pacific-12 Conference, Ivy League and closer to home at Sacramento State and UC Davis. He committed to Cal in July.
He turned down an offer from Oregon, where his parents, Jon and Tammy Tattersall, were college sweethearts and Jon played offensive line.
Evan said it was important to him to chart his own course.
“I didn’t want to get up there and have someone say I’m only here because my dad played here,” Tattersall said. “The best fit for me was Cal with its academics. It’s like Oregon, but with better academics.”
He said he’ll play “wherever they need me.” If that’s at running back, he could have a familiar blocker opening holes for him. Granite Bay lineman Will Craig (6-5, 280 pounds) will join Tattersall in Berkeley next season.
“A big pro for me was getting to go to school with Evan at Cal,” said Craig, a first-team All-Sierra Foothill League player last year and likely to repeat this season. “It’s great to have a big back like Evan who is not going to put too many moves on guys and just lower the pads and hit.”
In fact, Craig says, Tattersall has zero moves, especially dancing. After an early season victory over Jesuit, a local reporter asked Tattersall and Craig to hold a dance off on the sidelines. Craig said Tattersall exhibited absolutely no talent or rhythm at all, while he easily won.
Tattersall remembers the dance-off quite differently.
“All I know is that people were laughing at Will and not at me,” Tattersall said. “I’ll leave it at that.”
And then Coach Evans chimed in.
“Neither one of those guys can dance,” Evans said. “I don’t know what they’re talking about. But I do know that both of them are better men than they are football players.”
Sac-Joaquin Section Championships
Division I: No. 1 Folsom vs. No. 3. St. Mary’s, Saturday, 1:45 p.m., at Sacramento State
Division II: No. 1 Granite Bay vs. No. 7 Del Oro, Saturday, 7:45 p.m., at Sacramento State
Division III: No. 1 Oakdale vs. No. 2 Manteca, Friday, 7 p.m., at Lincoln High School-Stockton